Humanistic Approach

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  • Humanistic Approach
    • Abraham Maslow
      • hierarchy of needs
        • a hierarchy from our most basic needs which need to be fulfilled before we can move onto more advanced needs
        • focuses on the self
        • 1. physiological
          • e.g. breathing, food
        • 2. safety
          • e.g. employment, health
        • 3. belonging
          • e.g. family, sexual intimacy
        • 4. esteem
          • e.g. confidence, achievement
        • 5. self-actualisation
          • e.g. spontaneity, acceptance of facts
          • this is the goal of the hierarchy of needs
    • Carl Rogers
      • argues self-concept comes from opinions of others and our own feelings of self-worth which develop in childhood and are the result of interactions with our parents
      • argues we have a self-concept and an ideal self
        • self-concept is how we see ourselves
        • ideal self is how we would like to be
        • congruence is when there is a similarity between actual and ideal self
          • self-actualisation occurs when someone has congruence
            • someone who is self-actualising is a fully functioning person, according to Rogers
            • Rogers says the main determinant of self-actualisation is childhood experience
        • incongruence is when there is a large gap between actual and ideal self
      • conditions of worth
        • conditional positive regard is when someone is loved under certain circumstances
        • unconditional positive regard is when someone is love no matter what
        • conditions of worth are the conditions a person perceives significant others put upon them and which they believe have to be in place if they are to be accepted by others and to see themselves positively
          • a person will only experience self-acceptance when they feel they meet the expectations that others have set as conditions of worth
        • Rogers says psychological problems are the direct result of conditions of worth and conditional positive regard they receive from others
      • counselling
        • Rogers says this can help people solve problems in constructive ways and move towards become a more fully functioning person
        • therapists provide unconditional positive regard, empathy, acceptance and understanding regardless of client's feelings and attitudes
          • this is important as it offers a supportive environment to dissolve the conditions of worth and help the client move towards behaving how they are rather than how people want them to
        • client-centred therapy reduces the gap between self-concept and ideal self which helps people to cope with problems of everyday living
    • the humanistic approach focuses on conscious human experience and free will
      • free will is the idea that we are able to have some choice in how we act and assumes that we are free to choose our behaviour
        • three assumptions this approach makes about free will are: we make our own choices, interpret our own world, our own subjective experiences matter
        • this does not mean we are not responsible for our actions
    • humanistic psychologists try to understand behaviour though the person themselves rather than relying on observations
    • brings the person back into psychology and promotes a positive image of self and sees all people as good, free to work towards the achievement of their potential and able to be in control of their lives
    • many ideas central to this approach are more associated with western cultures than other types which leads to cultural bias


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